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do beets HAVE to taste like dirt?

 
gardener
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My wife boils them but adds a sauce-yogurt or sour cream. It's pretty good.
John S
PDX OR
 
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I've found that if you absolutely char the beats on a fire by dropping them into the coals and cook them for at least 45 minutes or so, they lose all that earthiness.  Yes, you end up with a blackened hunk of beet that you have to cut away all the char, but they are sweet and smoky and lovely.  

So whenever I'm burning scrap wood or making biochar, I always toss a few beets down into the coals.  It's good to have really large beets for this, or there isn't much left once you're done cutting away the black burnt exterior.  Then I serve them with a little bit of garlic salt and balsamic vinegar.  Lovely.

And the chickens LOVE beets.  They quickly eat the greens, and then they'll spend the day pecking away at the beet.  I grow extra just for them.
 
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In fairness, I like the taste of dirt.
I’ve always had good luck roasting beets in olive oil. Sliced, tossed in oil and grilled is quite excellent too. Both ways, they taste super sweet to me.

I had never succeeded at growing beets until this year. Planted a variety called cylindra that looks more like a fat, wonky carrot than a normal beet. Got a beautiful, heavy harvest and probably the tastiest beets I have ever had! Incredibly tender and mild enough to eat raw. The greens were delicious and mild too. All the more impressive since the spot we grew them on was heavy clay and the site of a large, long burning fire which we had hoped would kill the Japanese knotweed which was growing there (it didn’t, pretty sure it laughed at us). All to say, might be a good one to try for someone having limited success with the beets and/or doesn’t love the earthy taste.
 
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i have found that roasting anything makes it taste better!
before I knew how to cook (in college) I used to wrap them in foil with sesame oil, salt, and garlic powder) and cook them in the fire or in an oven someone else had on for hours and hours. Good stuff.
Today, I like the "russian salad" type beets- grate or spiralize, mix with some sort of cream (mayo, generally) and some pressed raw garlic, maybe some dill and some lemon juice, salt. Walnuts too if you like. Ridiculously flavorful and dirt is not the first taste you're going to get.
We make a lot of cabbage/beet soup. fry up a little bacon first, and then 2 beets and half a small cabbage makes a whole pot (a week of lunches for me). Again, pretty flavorful.
 
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I grow golden beets and ferment them with ginger and garlic. The sweetness comes out and the juice turns a lovely warm yellow color. Normally beets just taste like dirt to me, too.
 
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